Ragù alla Bolognese

Ragù alla Bolognese is a perfect example of Italian cooking: rich yet fresh-tasting and balanced, lavish yet down-to-earth. It doesn’t take a lot of ingredients (or a lot of money) to prepare this flavorful, chunky meat sauce. What it does take, however, is patience, for the sauce needs time to achieve the perfect texture. Dice the vegetables finely and let the ingredients simmer slowly over very low heat, in a closed pan.

This meat sauce can also be flavored with mushrooms. Simply fry 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter and add to the ragù half an hour before the end of cooking.

Ragù alla Bolognese

Recipe by Anna BembryCourse: Main courseCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Simple


Prep time


Cooking time



A classic Bolognese recipe for a chunky meat sauce, loaded with flavor.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1 celery stalk, diced

  • 1 carrot, diced

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)

  • 9 ounces / 255 gram ground beef

  • 1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup / 4 fl oz / 120 ml dry white wine (optional)

  • salt and pepper


  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy pan and stir in the onion. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 5 – 10 minutes, or until the onion starts to become translucent. Stir every couple of minutes. Add the celery and carrot. Cover and cook for an additional 5 – 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and just starting to brown on the edges. Stir in the garlic (if using) and cook for an additional minute. Add the ground beef, breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Turn up the heat to medium-high. Cook for about minutes, stirring, or until the meat loses its red color and starts to fry. Stir in tomato paste. Cook for an additional minute. Stir in the white wine (if using) and 1/2 cup (4 fl oz / 120 ml) water. If not using wine, add a total of 1 cup (8 fl oz / 240 ml) water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat to low. Cover and cook over very low heat for 1 1/2 hours, adding a 1/2 cup of water if the sauce seems to be drying out. The meat should be nearly covered with liquid during the first hour of cooking and it should be simmering slowly.
  • Serve with tagliatelle, pappardelle or fettuccine.


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